Something near and dear to my heart.

A friends post on facebook reminded me about this quirky little phenomenon in my hometown, you really know its spring when the Tulip smiley faces come out along the highway. The first one was not too far from my home, and it really did put a smile on my face every time I drove past it. Here is a video about the unknown gardener, his story about how he wants to make the world just a little bit better.

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Scotch, Japanese bondage, and cards against humanity.

I spent the weekend at the Ad Astra writing convention. It was amazing. Some of the highlights for me were seeing Anne Groell on the when is an editor not an editor panel, meeting the Genrecon ‘family’, and dinner at Chako’s.

My husband is a huge gamer, he works on third party material for the Pathfinder Role playing game. So naturally at these conventions he spends a lot of time in the games room. He is also incredibly good at meeting new people (much better than me), we met Cameron, who introduced us to his friend Thomas Gofton designer of Legacy of Mana (a pathfinder campaign setting) and currently developing Albion’s Legacy an amazing cooperative board game kick starting in just a few weeks! He is also an active member of Genre con, an event held in Guelph Ontario in October.

Cameron and Tom whisked us away to a party in a hotel room and the craziness began! In one corner you had a Scotch and chocolate pairing going on, I learned all about how the different regions of Scotland produce unique layers of peat that give each type of Scotch its unique taste, and that Scotch can’t be scotch unless the grains were dried over a peat fire. Who knew it mattered so much? In another corner someone was demonstrating several of the rope ties involved in Japanese bondage, a rowdy discussion of D&D4.0 vs. Pathfinder took place, and a hilarious game of Cards against Humanity rounded out the night. It was well after 3am when my husband and I made it back to our hotel room, and we were the first to leave!

Now, I should have been completely exhausted, we were on to day three of the con by this point and had been going full tilt all weekend, but the energy of the crowd was amazing. Everyone was upbeat and raring to go again. One of the game room guys told me ‘geeks throw the best parties,’ and I am liable to agree. I saw several more panels that were as amazing as the ones on Friday and Saturday. Learned a bit about ‘Cherokee wrestling’ (thanks Cameron :P) before joining our new friends for a meal at Chako’s Korean BBQ.

I died and went to heaven.

So much meat. They bring you a pile of raw ingredients, all spiced and marinated in their special sauces, and you cook it over a little grill set into your table top. They also provide sushi. We had fish, shellfish, pork, chicken, beef, vegetables, fruits, all grilled at our table and happily consumed. Just as Cameron, Tom, my husband, and I finish a massive meal more of our friends arrived. So of course we had them join us and went for round two. Lots of other con members had the same idea as us, and the restaurant filled up with fellow writers and gamers. We ate for close to three hours. It was spectacular.

We got home way later than we meant to, (Thanks Nate for the late night pick up at a carpooling lot!) but it was well worth it. Ad Astra was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

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Agility Practice

When A dog runs the weave poles they must always enter on the right side of the first pole, no matter what direction they are coming from! Jericho still likes to ‘pop’ out of the weaves from time to time.ImageThe hoop is always a lot of fun. Teaching your dog to go through instead of under can be a real challenge!ImageI love to watch him jump. Jericho jumps 26 inches, the height a dog jumps is based off how tall they are.ImageThe spread is a long and tall jump, really challenging the dog to know where his behind is!ImageWe used a curved tunnel today in practice, that means Jericho can’t see where he is coming out when he goes in. He has to charge blindly in believing that there is an exit!ImageAfter coming down from the A frame the dog has to pause with two paws on the obstacle and two paws within the yellow area. This is called making a contact. The dog cannot move until you release him.Image 
Agility is kind of like super obedience, the dog must take constant direction from you, they rely strongly on your body language, even something as simple as dropping your arm too soon can mess up the dog. When you get on the same page though it can be almost magical to watch the dog respond to your smallest gesture and rocket around the course perfectly!

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I am going to sleep late tomorrow!

First off we passed! My dog Jericho and I have successfully completed beginner 1 agility training. Our class is a true underdog story. After our first two lessons I’m sure our teacher was ready to rip her hair out. We named ourselves the remedial dog class. Our dogs peed on the course, and refused to try new obstacles. They ran off to sniff the corners of the training ring. Then came a two week scheduled practice time, burning normal class. All the teachers were away with their own dogs at competitions. We practiced our butts off and amazed our teacher when she returned. All the dogs could now do all the obstacles off leash and reliably. We ended up being the best class!

Eventually I will post pictures of him running the course.

We start beginners 2 Monday. Beginners classes number up to 5.

I am so glad the heat wave broke! The weather was horrible at work.


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